UN urges Kenya not to send back Somali refugees

Sun, 2010-11-07 14:20 by admin
Militants belonging to Somalia's Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab militia

(AFP)

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GENEVA — The UN refugee agency made an urgent appeal to Kenya Wednesday not to turn back Somalis fleeing across the border from fighting between a pro-government militia and Islamist Shebab fighters.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Kenyan authorities had ordered more than 8,000 Somalis housed in a camp at Mandera in northeast Kenya to go back across the border.

"UNHCR, in its advice to governments, has made clear that people fleeing central and southern Somalia are at substantial risk and that their international protection needs must be respected," a statement said.

The population at the camp mainly comprises children, women, and the elderly, all of whom have fled recent fighting between the Shebab rebel group and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa forces in the Somali town of Bulohawo Hawa, the UNHCR said.

The camp, known as Border Point One, lies 500 metres (yards) inside Kenya, and some of the refugees had gone back towards Somalia and were now in no man's land between the two borders, the UNHCR said. …

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